The farmers market in our small little valley has opened for the season, and that means spring has begun. I’m currently sitting in my home surrounded by the sounds of baby chicks and a seed catalog on my lap as I’m dreaming and planning the wildflower garden for my home. It’s a refreshing Saturday.
My home is warm and full of love. It needs a bit of tidying up and whatnot, so I’ve decided it’s just about time to call out the window washers and get to work on those pesky baseboards. I enjoy a clean, fresh breezy home. Opening the windows of this 1910 farmhouse and letting in the sounds of life coming to visit once again. The light sheers blowing in the softness of the breeze, and fresh gardenias and lilacs scents that as Robert Frost once penned “make us happy in the happy bees.”
Spring Has Sprung
So, with Spring comes maintenance, and I don’t mind it, not one single bit. I actually have come to quite enjoy the rewards of an honest, hard labor, and nothing quite beats the smell of freshly cut grass. In my young years, my stepfather would put me on that ole Forest Gump lawn mower, and for acres I spent learning how to drive and earned minor duckets by cutting our huge yard and pasture. Days I cherished and recall with a welcomed warm smile as an adult.
I’ve learned that antique homes come full of charm and often with their own set of blueprints. Mine comes with a daily scrub and a good old recipe, consistently.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves, put on our aprons, and get to it. Doing some sort of deep cleaning daily I have found helps combat the “BIG cleans.” Like, you know, the ones that tend to be ebbing at your mind as Spring springs.
In reality, many moms work outside of their homes as well, and that is nothing to turn your nose up at. I’m so very blessed to be able to stay home with my son and be in every facet of his life, especially now in his very formative years, preparing him to be a decent and kind husband is really why I keep such a tight ship. I want him to know that a home is only going to be as clean as he and the family living in it make it — daily tending to their “ship.” I also find that teaching young children to earn their keep by assigning daily chores is a very good life skill set. This will not only help him appreciate his wife and children, but by sharing the load will help him see the value in an honest day’s work, because raising a decent child and tending to a little farm as well as being a homemaker is truly the cornerstone of a family. So, I keep my family healthy and anyone I’m blessed to have come visit for a minute. Teaching them that washing hands regularly is a good thing when you come home from class and such, and it’s a simple way to ensure good cleanliness.
Read, Set, Go!
Each and every morning since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I opened my eyes and tended to making my bed. I know it sounds simple, but that little luxury when you’ve come home and put in a long hard day’s work to climb into a bed that is freshly washed, pressed, and smells so yummy is such a delight.
I set out to deep clean something each and every day. This may include a quick swiffer under all the beds and/or cleaning the glass in the apothecary cabinet where we store all our linens and paper products. In a small home, one must be very disciplined not to over purchase daily needs. By that I mean I simply don’t have the storage means to accommodate a large Costco anything. It’s just that in the turn of the century most families did not possess nearly what we have at this present day. I don’t keep sets upon sets of linens, I simply cannot do so. When I decide to have a clean sheet day, I pull off the bedding once a week and replace it by the day’s end. It’s that simple really. It just takes the discipline to get that load finished and dried. Living small is a mindset for certain.
The Best Room in the House
I enjoy spending a great deal of time in my farmhouse kitchen. It is the centerpiece of our home. It’s what our beautiful guests see when they enter. On our open shelving of subway tile, I like to use a microfiber towel and a small amount of Method spray to clean any splatter and such, and then I dry the area with another clean microfiber cloth. I have found that this will help anyone struggling with the streaks on their subway tile.
In our kitchen, we have an open range gas fire stove. I prefer cooking with gas rather than electric, and find that the food keeps better, cooks more consistently, and the deep flavors marry in a smokier, almost mesquite, flavor. Yet those little gas burners need a deep cleaning once in a great while to keep them nice and de-junky. I pull each one off and empty them into a large gallon-sized zip lock bag and fill the bag with half a cup of baking soda and slowly add about a tablespoon per grill to reach back and let it sit closed for about 10-15 minutes. When you come back and pour out the contents, those grills will sparkle with a little elbow grease and a nice thread count paper towel to remove the gunk. That same mixture you can use on the cooktop to create the paste and your sweet little cooktop will shine right up.
Daily Cleaning Time
During my daily thirty minutes, I take a broom over the entire home and in a farmhouse full of little boys and little critters, rugs and carpet would be a dreadful site. That’s why I use a very nice broom and dustpan (I promise it’s worth the investment if you use it daily on hardwood flooring), and every two to three days I run the swiffer over the entire home. I don’t even own a vacuum any longer as it were.
While the first load of laundry is going and waiting for a switchover, I spend a concentrated amount of time in the powder rooms. I don’t know about you, but when you finish cleaning a bathroom you feel like you could conquer pretty much anything. I use bleach in the bowls and let that set because, well, my grandmother did it and so does my mom. I find myself windexing all the glass surfaces and getting those finished in order to concentrate on the claw feet and the subway tile flooring that will need more attention. Now, I don’t deep clean my bathrooms daily, but I do try to clean them every 2–3 days, usually when I pull the shower rugs to wash them. It makes for a good time as the wash rugs are cycling thru. I know this may sound a bit Monica from friends but yes, I do if you’re thinking clean and de-junk that old washer and drier as well. I also recommend each Spring you clean out your dryer vents and hose that connects to the unit. Many house fires begin in this area of a home. You could add that to your New Year’s battery and smoke detector checks, but I tend to do it in the Spring, totally up to you.
The floors in my bathrooms are a bit challenging and require a lot of attention. White flooring is a stinkin’ mess at times, but when you can get on your hands and knees and scrub them using this mixture, it will shine up like a new penny.
The Worst of The Worst
The toilets are, let’s face it, the most unflattering area of a home. I go in with a mindset to clean it and do it quickly. You will need a toothbrush and a screwdriver to remove the lid and small coverings over the toilet mount covers. Yes, friend, there are a lot of germs so wear a pair of good rubber gloves and clean with a lot of baby wipes. Once you begin to do it regularly, this process will quicken over time and it will become second nature, and that smell that a lot of bathrooms of little boys have, or big guys for that matter, will not have that permitting urine stench. With that toothbrush, I clean the smallest crevasse, one for the toilet and one for behind the sink faucets. You can use q-tips for this task as well. I also interchange at times SOS pads when something has a small amount of rust built up on the surface.
I can imagine that this seems so overwhelming as you begin, but I promise you that you’ll be so happy to have a tidy and clean home. Start small today. Tackle that linen closet or remove all the shoes from the bottoms of your closets and sweep or vacuum the bottom. Little small tasks are just a beginning. So grab a cup of coffee, put on some really great music, and enjoy as you tend to the heart of your life — your home.